“There is much weakness in their little group.” A specter Digimon watched Lilithmon pace the marble floors of the main hall of her castle. His voice was eerie and he spoke slowly. His ghastly skin was a faded greenish grey color with splotches of dark marks littering his skin. He had horns on his head as well as protrusions on his elbows. On his arms were chains and his hands coated in a fresh, tar-like substance that constantly dripped and stained whatever it came into contact with.
“If there is so much weakness then how the hell are they defeating all the Digimon we send to destroy them? Answer me that, Plutomon!” Lilithmon stopped in her tracks to face him. She loved having her way and didn’t tolerate let-downs. More than any of the other Shadow Lords, she was much too proud to admit any weaknesses. Her castle had been in the deepest depths of the Dark Area; the southern most point of the Digital World, from where she had oversaw to everything.
She sighed and continued to pace the floor, at a slower, more relaxed speed, “Tell me their weaknesses.”
“Two of the humans have history together. History that’s been…unsettled…”
“Which two?” Lilithmon put a finger on her chin.
“The humans of the Darkness and Metal Origins. Their past causes tension among the group. Tension that could be used to our advantage…”
Lilithmon slowed to a halt, intrigued, “Go on.”
“The tension causes further problems with the tamer of the Origin of Magic, he seems smitten with the girl.”
“Hmm, drama.” Lilithmon smiled slyly.
“Perhaps if we separate the two from the group, we can destroy their Digimon easily.”
“How do you expect us to do that? Kronosmon has said explicitly that we are not allowed to destroy them ourselves. Not now anyway. We need them to find the Origins for us. Once we have them and are able to travel to the human world, we will be unconquerable!” She put her hands on her hips, “Where are the others, anyway?”
“You know Kronosmon, he’s always busy with, well, his own thing.” Plutomon explained. “Beelzemon is off gallivanting, as usual. As for Atropomon…” Plutomon just shrugged his shoulders.
“Urgh!” Lilithmon threw her hands up in the air. “Fine. Who do we send to separate those little…darlings?” Plutomon floated over to Lilithmon’s side, “A DarkTyranomon perhaps? Oh, no. SkullGreymon this time, he’s my favorite. Or how about a Puppetmon? Or maybe-“
“No!” Lilithmon’s voice could be compared to nails on a chalkboard when she was irritated or angry. After a moment she gave her little wicked smile as she thought. Finally she turned and raised her right arm which was covered in a golden metal. “My dear Plutomon,” she placed her finger underneath Plutomon’s gaping chin and, in a sultry tone, said, “If you want something right, you do it yourself…” And with that she disappeared in a poof of black and purple smoke.
“Note to self; tell Matt and Taki to program Digital World vehicles.” Trask said out loud, wiping the sweat from his forehead.
“Seconded.” Duke added.
The team had spent much of the morning relaying to Davis the full story of the Digimon of Origin and what was their purpose in the Digital World. He and Vedamon took it quite well.
After a while Davis strode alongside Viola and Heraldimon. He said casually, “That color suits you.”
Viola looked at him through the corner of her eyes, “What?”
“Your hair. It’s…cool.”
Viola said nothing.
“So…the others say that you’re some kind of heiress?”
Silence. Heraldimon looked over at Davis as he pocketed his hands.
“Strong and silent type, huh?”
Viola rolled her eyes, “Do you read any newspapers?”
“Nah…reading bores me.”
“Ugh!” Viola stammered a few steps ahead of Davis. He smirked slightly and caught up to her. “Why so serious? I just want to get to know you.”
“There are eight other tamers on this team. Start with someone else.”
“Geez, you’re a hard catch aren’t you? I guess all those ‘diva’ accusations from the others were correct.
Viola stopped dead in her tracks. Davis slowed down a few steps ahead of her. “What ‘diva’ accusations? And who has been saying that?” She stood with her hands on her hips. He casually walked back and around her, “Well, blondie for one. And I’m talking about the guy, the skinny one. I mean what guy wears pants that tight?” He pointed at Duke.
“What is it you want, newbie?” Viola turned to face him, hands still on her hips.
He backed up a bit, “Woah, chill. I was just trying to make conversation, that’s all. I’ve noticed almost everyone here’s found someone to talk to. Like Maya and that chick with the pink hair, looks like they’re practically bff’s.” Davis raised his arms and folded them behind his head before he continued, “I was just wondering if we-“
Viola breathed in and immediately pinched her nose with her fingers, “Oh my God!” She turned and ran back up to rejoin the others. Davis watched her, “Well that’s just rude, I didn’t even-“ Finally catching his own stench his eyes widened and he quickly lowered his arms and looked around to make sure no one else had seen him. He casually ran to catch up with the team.
The sound of laughter was heard suddenly. The team stopped and looked in all directions instinctively. The fur on the necks of Rockymon, Vulpemon and Maaumon stood on end. Midomon clenched his fists and Equimon lowered his head, alert. Black smoke appeared before them, the laughing subsiding as a form came into sight within.
The smoke dissipated and there, right before the Digimon of Origin stood Lilithmon; she could very well have passed as human. She had the petite figure of a woman, with black hair and flowing purple robes. But on the sides of her head were sharp horns, and she had two sets of bat-like wings sprouting from her back. Her right hand was made up of golden armor. She had a tattoo of a bat silhouette across her forehead.
“Isn’t this a pretty picture!” She said in her seductive voice. “We’re all back together again!”
The tamers didn’t need to check their devices to know who she was. They had heard, from descriptions from Matt and Takeshi, exactly what she looked like, her face burnt into their mind.
Maya felt her heartbeat quicken suddenly. Rockymon and Maaumon’s feline pupils were slits and they growled loudly. Phoebe held on to her chest, as if stopping her heart from bursting right out of it. The others stood frozen, rooted to the spot as they saw her.
“Calm, little ones. Order’s from high up say that I shouldn’t destroy you, immediately. We’re going to have a little fun with you first.”
“Wha…What do you mean?” Viola stepped forward, Heraldimon at her side.
In a split second Lilithmon was on the ground, face to face with Viola, who, with her heels, was a full foot taller than the Shadow Lord. Lilithmon looked her up and down, then smirked, her vampire-like fangs protruding from the corners of her purple colored lips, “You’ve faced and defeated all the enemies thrown at you…” she trailed, walking casually over to Max. She pressed the fingers of her left hand on his lips. He tried to jump back, but found himself unwilling to move. He struggled as she raised herself up to meet his eyes, “Let’s see if you can defeat the enemy…within yourselves!” She snapped her fingers and in a poof of black smoke Max and Midomon disappeared.
Lilithmon heard Maya gasp. She turned and floated towards her. Maya felt her body uncooperative as she willed her legs to move. Rockymon stood with clenched fists at her side, struggling to move himself. Lilithmon stared into Maya’s eyes. Maya felt absolute fear course through her being. In a snap of Lilithmon’s fingers Maya and Rockymon disappeared and a cloud of smoke.
“Maya!” Phoebe and Alex called out simultaneously.
Lilithmon’s giggle turned into a hysterical laugh as she became enshrouded in purple, black smoke and disappeared. The tamers felt movement return to them. Each sighed a breath of relief.
“What happened to them?!” Alex became frantic.
Maya, Max, Rockymon and Midomon suddenly found themselves in a forest thicket; tall, yellow-green trees surrounded them. It was also raining. Maya covered her head with her hands and blinked, “Where the hell…”
“We’re still in the Digital World.” Rockymon said, his fur was still standing, and his pupils still thin lines in his eyes. He looked around and smelled the air for any danger. “I’m pretty sure we’re still in the Digital World.” He repeated monotonously.
Midomon used his knuckleduster and scratched a line on the bark of a nearby tree. Max lifted his jacket over his head to shield himself from the rain, which was starting to come down harder.
“We’ve gotta get back to the others!” Maya yelled to him. He nodded quickly before saying, “We need to get out of this rain first!”
After a moment of delegating they had chosen a direction and ran. Rockymon ran ahead and quickly spotted a rocky overhang near a small waterfall. The overhang shielded a small part of a river bank from the torrential rain that was now upon them. “This way!” he led them to it.
“Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God…” Phoebe clutched her hands to her hair, “They’re dead! She killed them, just like that!” Tears began to stream down her face. Yasmin held her shoulders and tried to comfort her. Maaumon sat with her ears folded back over her head and looked down at the ground, she was crying too.
“They can’t be dead. They just can’t be!” Trask placed his hands on Alex’s shoulders. Alex let his head hang while he was in deep thought; all kinds of things were running through his mind all at the same time. Fear deeply instilled in him as he thought about how it would feel to die, by Lilithmon’s hand. He knew everyone had thought the same thing when the Shadow Lord appeared before them. He also thought of the previous fight with SkullMeramon, and how he had quite easily defeated the five champions, and were it not for BurningGreymon, they’d all be destroyed for sure.
Finally he thought of Maya; and how he’d missed so many chances of telling her how he feels. Regret was slowly creeping its way into him. Max was gone too; Alex didn’t particularly like him much, but certainly wouldn’t wish something like this happen to him either. He then thought that they might not be dead; Lilithmon had said that she wasn’t allowed to destroy them. So they can’t be dead. But what did she do to them then?
The rest of the Digimon sat quiet, Griffmon tried to comfort Heraldimon, who covered her tearing eyes with her hands, Equimon’s head hung low, Vulpemon laid a paw on his mane, Elishamon watched the humans try to comfort each other.
“They’re not dead!” Trask yelled it out, as if he was trying to convince himself of it.
“Tamers!” Ophanimon’s familiar voice seemed to boom out through the utter silence. Viola raised her D-Ark, “Ophanimon, tell me it’s not…They’re not…” Viola choked a tear back.
“They’re alive.” The tamers and Digimon raised their heads at the news.
“Lilithmon merely teleported them to another part of the Digital World.”
Phoebe wiped the tears from her face, “She didn’t…kill them?”
“She cannot kill you. Not just yet.”
“What do you mean? They’ve been trying to kill us ever since we found our Digimon!” Trask shouted in frustration.
“Their leader, Kronosmon, will not allow them to destroy you. They plan to obtain your Digimon’s Origins in order to travel into your world and take it over.”
“Wait…” Duke paced the ground a few times, “You’re telling me that they…they can’t travel to the real world?”
“That is correct.”
“But they’ve been trying to destroy us all this time, Ophanimon.” Viola said.
“They’ve sent lackeys to test your strength. Ultimately, they do need you to find the Origins. They plan to use your Origins to gain power and control of not only the Digital World…but your world as well.”
“Where are Maya and Rockymon?” Alex demanded.
“The Eastern Plain of the Digital World. It is far from your location.”
“Can’t you teleport us there, Ophanimon?” Phoebe asked.
“I’m afraid I cannot. I do not wield the same abilities as Lilithmon.”
Alex clenched his D-Ark as he stood silent. “Vulpemon.” He looked down at the fox Digimon at his side. Vulpemon nodded. “We can’t sit here and let them wander, alone and lost.”
Trask and Duke exchanged looks.
“Activate Evolution!” Alex called out.
“Vulpemon evolve to…Youkomon!”
Alex hopped onto Youkomon’s back. He turned to the others, “We stick together.”
Trask and the others nodded. In colorful flashes of light Equimon, Elishamon and Tulamon were replaced with their champion forms. Kentauromon carried Trask, Viola and Heraldimon, Enumamon carried Duke, Davis and Vedamon whilst Phoebe and Maaumon joined Alex on Youkomon. Selena and Yasmin traveled by their champions Niscimon and Leoarmon. They headed east.
The torrential rain was threatening to cause the river to flood its banks. A rocky outcrop surrounded the small river bank on which Maya, Max and their Digimon sat, allowing them some protection from the swelling river.
Maya held her shoulders, shivering incessantly from the cold temperature the rain had brought. Rockymon hugged himself to her in an effort to keep her warm, but his soaking wet fur didn’t help much. Max and Midomon were collecting rocks to add to the small wall of outcrop that kept the water from reaching them.
Once he was satisfied the rocks would hold he sat himself next to Maya. She looked at him wearily form the corner of her eye as he sat down. Rockymon had busied himself by trying to lick his fur dry. Max removed his leather jacket and threw it over Maya’s shoulders. She said nothing for the moment and brought her knees close to her chest. Midomon shook himself in an effort to get rid of the water. After he was satisfied he sat next to Max.
The two tamers and their Digimon sat quietly as the rain remained relentless. The sky slowly darkened and the four, now accustomed to the harsh noise of the rain, eventually fell asleep.
Maya woke slowly. At first her eyes barely adjusted to the brightness of day before her. The sun’s rays filtered through the branches of the forest trees, the river flowed smoothly passed them and the gentle lapping of the waterfall was the only sound she heard. She raised her head, realizing that she had been leaning against Max. She slowly sat herself up, carefully removing Max’s jacket and trying not to wake him or Rockymon who was fast asleep beside her.
She walked over to the river, cupped her hands and drank gratefully. She then splashed her face with the cool water.
Max began to stir and opened his eyes. He yawned and stretched, waking the two sleeping Digimon. Rockymon grumbled as he rubbed his eyes and walked over to the river next to Maya. He lowered his head and drank. Max slowly got to his feet and stretched once more, Midomon mimicked him. Rockymon’s stomach growled loudly. He lowered his ears back over his head and rubbed his stomach. Maya laid her hand on his head between his ears, scrunching the fur gently in her fingers. He purred softly.
Maya rose to her feet and looked around, “This place seriously needs a map or something.”
Max rubbed his head with his hands as he walked to the river, where he and Midomon drank deeply. Maya lifted the D-Ark out of her shoulder bag, “Ophanimon, are you there?” For a moment there was no answer. Then a soft click was heard before the familiar voice sounded, “Maya. I am here.”
“Thank God.” Maya sighed softly. “Lilithmon, she just appeared before us and…”
“You and Max were separated from the rest of the team.” Ophanimon said.
“Yea. Is everyone else okay?”
“They all fine. They are on their way to find you.”
“Great…Where exactly are we?”
“You’re in the far Eastern Plain. In the Eternal Forest. The forest spans across both Eastern and Western Plains of the Digital World. It also serves to conceal the village of all Digimon’s beginnings, Primary Village.”
“Where all Digimon are born, from DigiEggs.” After a moment Ophanimon spoke again, “If you can reach the village, I will let the others know where to find you.”
Maya looked at Rockymon, who nodded in agreement. “Sounds good.” Maya said.
“Good. Now, use your device, and head exactly west…”
Maya felt her stomach ache with hunger as she hugged Rockymon close while she and Max walked on through the vast forest. The silence between them wasn’t tense at all, but rather a slightly comfortable silence. Both Maya and Max knew they were in a bit of a predicament without the others; they were alone, wandering the vast expanse of the Digital World, a strange world, where they had encountered Digimon far stronger than theirs. Any and all tension was thrown out of the window for now. They knew they had to rely on each other and each other’s Digimon if they were to find the others. They were, after all, part of a team.
After a long while Max slowed down, stomping the ground as he came to a stop, “Maya, wait a sec…” He breathed heavily, his hand gripping his side, “We need a break…” He felt his feet burn with the heat of walking too much. Maya was well accustomed to trekking for long hours, but agreed to a breather. Max dropped himself and leaned his back against the bark of a tree. Maya sat herself down on a large root that had grown above ground.
“How much further do you think?” Max asked, still trying to catch his breathe.
“I’m not sure.” Maya shrugged her shoulders.
After a moment Max gave a short chortle and leaned his head back against the bark, closing his eyes at the brightness of the sun’s rays that filtered through the branches above. “You were always good at this kind of thing.”
“What?” Maya looked at him.
“Adventure.” Max didn’t open his eyes. He could almost feel Maya’s slight glare and he opened his eyes to meet her gaze. It seemed like hours that they had stared into each others eyes, but it was only a few seconds before Maya turned away, rolling her eyes.
“What?” Max asked, “Was it something I said?”
Maya stood up, Rockymon in arms, and retorted casually, “Actually, this time, it’s something you didn’t say.” And with that she turned on her heels and carried on walking. Max watched her walk before feeling a nudge in his side. He turned to look at his imp Digimon. “This is a good a time as any, Max.” Midomon said.
“What’re you talkin’ about?”
“It’s just the two of you, ignore Rockymon and me.”
Max turned back, Maya wasn’t slowing down. “You have to settle whatever it is between the two of you. You know it. I know it. Maya knows it too.”
Max turned back to Midomon after a long moment, “You have your moments, Midomon. Not many, but you do have them.” And with that they stood up and followed Maya’s path.
“Maya, can we talk?” Max finally caught up to her.
“Now’s not the time, Max.” Maya continued walking.
“And why not?”
“Well, we’re lost in a completely strange world, our Digimon are hungry and tired. And probably won’t be able to protect us if they’re hungry and tired, since they won’t have enough energy to evolve…So, yea. Now’s not a good time at all.” Maya’s tone was filled with sarcasm.
“Come on.” Max walked on beside her. “We haven’t had a chance to talk since-“
“Since what, Max?” Maya stopped and looked him dead in the eye. “Since you found out that we’re both part of a team now?” She walked past him and continued.
Max sighed before turning around and watching her walk on, “Look, there’s a lot unsaid between us.” Maya kept walking. Max felt frustration build inside him, he finally raised his voice a bit, “Will you just give me a chance to explain?!”
Maya slowed to a halt. She knew this was coming. The past had caught up to them the second Max walked through the door to Matt’s apartment that day. A part of her wanted to forget it altogether, and she had been doing well the past few years, but now that Max was back in the picture and on the team –permanently- , memories and feeling were resurfacing in her; memories about the day she had found out that Max and his band were in London, and would be there indefinitely.
She sat Rockymon down slowly, “Explain yourself? Now? After six years…” All at once, all the memories and feelings washed over her all at once, and she turned on her heels rapidly, facing him, “You said nothing. Absolutely nothing! You just packed up and left! You know how I found out you were gone? From your mother! Dammit, Max you don’t just walk back into my life and expect things to be how they were six years ago!” Maya faced him full on, not holding anything back.
All those suppressed emotions just flooded to the surface in a full on torrent. Maya felt the warm tears stream down her face, but was unhindered by them. Rockymon and Midomon sat themselves by the trunk of a tree, remaining absolutely silent and trying their hardest not make any movements. They felt awkward, they knew a confrontation was inevitable, they just hoped they would’ve been able to sneak away and let the two humans go at it. Maya stood, feeling as if she was rooted to the spot.
“I know…” Max couldn’t face her. He looked to the side, taking in everything Maya had said. He had to. He had to let her get her feelings out. He knew very well that he had hurt her, deeply. And that nothing he could say would change it.
Once Maya had said all she needed to say Max spoke in a soft voice, “Maya. You must believe me, I didn’t mean to hurt you like that. There were just so many things happening. And everything happened all at once…You know I would never have done it if…” he stopped.
“If what?” Maya noticed the silence and looked up at him.
Max gave a sigh, “I was stupid, Maya. So stupid. The band, we had just released our first single, we just managed to get our foot in the door, got a great manager and…” Max turned away and leaned his elbow against the tree. Maya listened closely; the rage hadn’t left her one bit.
“One day, out of the blue he tells us we gotta pack our stuff and head to London, like, that same night. We literally had no time. And we could’ve missed our chance… It was the night before your college entrance exams, remember?” He stood upright and turned back to her, the memory fresh in his mind, and hers.
“You were studying your butt off for months. I… couldn’t…didn’t want to distract you from that.”
Maya looked down and felt fresh streams of tears run down her face. Max walked over to her slowly, “How I wanted to see you before we left. How I wanted to call you, but…I…ugh it was all just shitty timing.” Max took a deep breathe before carrying on, “I should’ve called you from London, I know. I had no idea we would be there for as long as we had.” He gently lifted her chin up with his hand.
“Maya, I am truly, deeply sorry.”
Maya swallowed, blinking the last of the tears out before composing herself. She sighed deeply, finally feeling all that built up rage expel from her more and more with every exhale. “Well…Everything’s changed now…” she said.
Max nodded slowly, “I know. But that, that doesn’t mean I don’t care about you anymore.” He reached his arms around her shoulders and pulled her close to him. “I’ll always love you, Maya.”
After a moment Maya eased her muscles and pressed her face against his chest, hugging him in return.
Together they carried on walking, Rockymon and Midomon joined them.
“Primary Village, huh?” Trask said, hearing Ophanimon’s explanation.
“I hope they’re okay.” Phoebe said, hugging Maaumon.
“Rockymon won’t let anything happen to Maya.” Viola said, glancing at Alex, who was analyzing the compass that appeared on his D-Ark.
Leoarmon descended to the ground. Yasmin hopped off of his back and petted his large, eagle-like head. “We have to take a break. The Digimon are all tired.”
“She’s right.” Trask stood next to Kentauromon, who looked down at his tamer anxiously. “Don’t give me that look. You’re tired, you can’t hide it from me.” The centaur’s head lowered in defeat and he reverted back into Equimon with a flash of turquoise light. Leoarmon and Niscimon were replaced by Griffmon and Tulamon respectively.
Enumamon landed alongside the group, her passengers; Duke, Davis and Vedamon disembarked and she too de-evolved into Elishamon. Alex still sat on Youkomon’s back. She was tired, but her pride and determination to help her tamer hid it well. Alex said nothing as he stared at the compass projection form his device.
“Alex.” Trask walked over to Youkomon and looked up at him with concern, “Come on, man. The Digimon need to rest up a bit.” There was a long moment of silence among the group, after which Alex gave a deep sigh and returned his D-Ark to his pocket before hopping off of Youkomon. Trask petted the fox Digimon briefly before returning to his own Digimon, who folded his legs beneath him and rested. In a flash of yellow light Vulpemon replaced Youkomon and she folded her arms casually.
“It seems things are not going as you planned…” Plutomon mused as he looked upon the image of Max and Maya embracing on the mystical mirror that hung on the walls of the main hall of the castle. He found amusement in watching Lilithmon throw her tantrums when things didn’t go her way.
He heard Lilithmon huff from the overly lavish throne on which she sat. Her fingers were digging into the underside of the arms of the throne, her nails gauged out pieces of wood. She bared her teeth and her eyes narrowed. “We don’t know as much about human feelings as we thought…” Plutomon said. Eventually he turned to face her, a long smile painted on his joker-like face.
“What the hell are you smirking at?!” Lilithmon’s screeching voice echoed through the large room. “Why, lady, I was merely amused at my own ignorance.” Plutomon replied. “I should’ve foreseen these turn of events.”
“But you didn’t!” Lilithmon retorted. “What do we do now?”
“Hmm” Plutomon thought deeply for a few moments as Lilithmon crossed her legs and leaned her body onto one elbow on one of the arms of the throne, her eyes rolled around the room in boredom.
Finally Plutomon let out a chuckle, which turned into a giggle, then into a laugh. “What?! Tell me?!” Lilithmon sat herself upright.
“We’ve gotta find something to eat…” Maya hugged her stomach in an attempt to subdue the hunger pains slightly.
“Wait…” Rockymon stopped and sniffed the air, “I smell something…” He inhaled once more, “Food!” He dashed off into the forest thicket, Maya and the rest followed.
Rockymon pointed up at the canopy of the trees. Maya, Max and Midomon were thrilled to find that the trees surrounding them were full of meat apples, the same kind they had enjoyed at Kazemon’s utopia. Midomon licked his lips, “How do we get them down?”
Rockymon unsheathed his claws and climbed up one of the trees. Moments later he sent meat apples falling down towards the rest. Max used his jacket to catch them as they fell. The feline climbed down and the four proceeded in engorging their hungry stomachs full of the delicious meat apples.
During their feast they heard a shuffle nearby. Rockymon stood up alert, clutching to a large bone of half eaten meat, his mouth full. His ears twitched back and forth and he sniffed the air. Maya and Max paused, Midomon stood too. Rockymon swallowed his mouthful, “Something…the smell…different…” The two tamers slowly stood up and looked around.
Max thought he spotted some thing in the distance. He squinted to get a better look, realizing what it was. “GET DOWN!” He grabbed Maya and pulled her to the ground a split second before a loud whooshing sound was head. Rockymon and Midomon dove to the ground just in time. There were cracking sounds, followed by the sounds of branches snapping. The tree next to them leaned over slowly, and then fell towards them. The four scrambled out of the way just as it hit ground. Then another tree, with a clean cut right through, about waist high. Then another tree, and another. The group found themselves in a clearing where the lush canopy was moments ago, full of the fresh and fragrant meat apples. They were now scattered amongst the fallen trees, and had already began to rot.
The fur on Rockymon’s neck stood on end, his pupils as thin as needles and he growled loudly. The fearful silhouette of Lilithmon drifted behind the trees. Maya felt chills running down her back as her eyes widened. Lilithmon drifted through the trees, over the fallen timber and faced the tamers and their Digimon. Midomon stood aside Rockymon, clenching his fists tightly.
“You disappoint me.” Lilithmon said casually. “And here I thought the two of you would be the undoing of the entire group…” She twirled her hair in a finger as she spoke.
“Now what am I to do with you?”
“How about leave us the hell alone?!” Max said, his fists clenched.
“Ah yes, well, that’s not in the schedule now is it?” Lilithmon drifted closer to the group.
Rockymon bared his teeth and hissed, “Don’t you DARE step any closer!” He felt absolute fear course through his being, but he didn’t let it get to him, which in itself was a struggle. He hid the slight shaking in his knees and hands and wagged his tail furiously to distract himself from the fearful thoughts that were racing through his mind. He has to protect his tamer, above all else. No matter what. This was his primary instinct, as it was with the others. But he and Midomon were the only thing standing in the way of Lilithmon destroying the two humans and he wasn’t gonna let that happen, no matter what. No matter what…
“Midomon…” Rockymon said, his eyes fixed on the Shadow Lord that hovered before him. “We protect Maya and Max, at all costs.”
“I’m with you.” Midomon said, glaring at Lilithmon. “If we go, we go together.”
The D-Arks began to glow. Maya held hers up, as did Max. “Activate Evolution!”
“Rockymon evolve to…”
Rockymon became shrouded in a bright red light. His silhouette grew; the tips of his ears rounded, his muzzle enlarged, and his torso became chiseled. The light faded to reveal the tall panther with bright red boxing gloves.
“Midomon evolve to…”
Midomon was engulfed in a sapphire light. A helmet formed on his head as his body lengthened. Metal gloves and gauntlets formed on his arms and large metal boots on his feet. As the light faded he stood, a tall, Greek-like warrior.
Lilithmon gave a mocking yawn. Maya held her D-Ark to her chest as she looked on. Manxmon growled. There was along moment of silence as neither Lilithmon nor the two champions moved. Finally Manxmon let out a powerful roar as he stepped forward.
He leapt at the Shadow Lord, who had to only raised her hand and wave it slightly, causing a force of wind that blew Manxmon off his course, causing him to crash into a standing tree at the end of the clearing.
Graikosmon ran forward with his fists clenched tightly. Lilithmon raised her hand, commanding Graikosmon’s body to ascend into the air. Another wave of her hand and he too flew across the clearing, slamming into a few trees.
Max and Maya took a step back as Lilithmon advanced on them. Manxmon bounded forwards.
Before Lilithmon could knock him off course he disappeared in a poof of black smoke. The Shadow Lord was dumbstruck. She looked around for a sign of the champion and a moment later was hit by an invisible blow from the side. Then another blow from her other side. She was bombarded with invisible punches all over. Finally she raised her hands and snapped her fingers. Manxmon reappeared and yowled in great pain. His body was suspended in the air, contorted unnaturally by the pain.
“No! Let him go!” Maya tried to rush forwards, but Max held her tightly. Lilithmon composed herself. “I told you I wouldn’t destroy you myself, not just yet.” She said. Just then the D-Arks beeped wildly, the red and blue lights blinked incessantly, “DANGER!” Ophanimon’s familiar voice sounded.
“But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to have some fun making your lives hell!” the Shadow Lord continued as she drifted away from the tamers and a floating Manxmon.
“Opponent Limit Activated!”
“No…” Maya said under her breath.
“Code Breakerrrrrr!” Lilithmon’s voice echoed through the forest. Manxmon’s body began to glow in a bright red. Then slowly faded into a black hue. He roared out in pain as bits of data escaped from the glow.
“Manxmon!” Maya yelled out, trying to fight Max’s grip. A moment later Manxmon’s body dropped to the ground in a heap. Max released his grip and Maya immediately ran towards her fallen Digimon.
The black glow remained in the air over Manxmon’s body, the data fragments drifted around it. Maya held Manxmon’s head up in her arms. “Ma..Maya…” He managed to say. “G..Get out of here…”
“I’m not leaving you…” Maya said, a tear running down her cheek.
The black glow began to grow, the data fragments absorbed into it. Moments later it began to form a shape. Graikosmon made his way back to Max as they looked upon it. It formed Manxmon’s silhouette perfectly, before distorting in places. Slowly it descended to the ground before Maya and Manxmon.
“Well, hope you kiddies have fun now.” Lilithmon smiled before disappearing in a poof of black and purple smoke. The glow faded, Max and Graikosmon gasped. A Digimon stood; large and ghastly. It was feline-like, similar to Manxmon. It had a panther-like head, but wore a metal mask over its face. Its long, yellow-grey claws pierced through faded and worn boxing gloves. Its roar was loud and tortured, almost like one of anguish.
Tilting its head to one side, he stared down at Maya with his one red eye. Max held up his D-Ark, “CursedManxmon, an Ultimate level Digimon born of Lilithmon’s Code Breaker Limit.” Maya looked up at him. For a moment, she felt a sense of familiarity, a bond of sorts, similar to that she shared with the panther Digimon in her arms. CursedManxmon stared into the tamers eyes, then, as if arguing with himself, shook his head and raised his paw. “No…” Maya hugged Manxmon’s head in her arms, bracing for a hit from the beast.
It didn’t come. Maya opened her eyes to see Graikosmon straining to hold up the ultimate’s paw with his arms. Graikosmon grunted as he bared the full weight of CursedManxmon’s arm, keeping his long, sharp claws away from Maya. Max ran up to her and together they managed to pull Manxmon away from the blow. Once Graikosmon was sure they were out of the way he jumped up, allowing the beast’s claw to dig through the earth like a hot knife through butter. Graikosmon leapt forth and kicked his jaw.
CursedManxmon didn’t flinch, he simply retracted his claws from the ground and swung his long arm, sending Graikosmon flying through the air once more.
“Manxmon, you have to get up…” Maya said softly. Manxmon slowly raised himself onto his knees, still feeling the effects of pain inflicted on him by Lilithmon. He examined the enemy; a stronger, feral version of himself. CursedManxmon chased after Graikosmon as he fell, tossing him into the air and beating him. Manxmon pushed to his feet and made his way towards CursedManxmon.
Manxmon jumped up, knocking the larger panther off balance with a right uppercut to the bottom of the jaw. CurseManxmon fell back, but swiftly regained his form and leapt towards Manxmon. The champion barely made it out of the way in time. CursedManxmon swung his arms, grabbing hold of Manxmon’s legs and threw him into the fallen trees nearby. The beast turned and began to stomp his way towards the smaller panther.
Graikosmon crashed his metal gloves into the ground, causing it to shake momentarily. The tremor followed CursedManxmon and he teetered as he tried to keep his balance. “Ge..Get out of here!” Graikosmon shouted to the two humans before falling over and reverting into his in-training form, Thessamon.
The tremor subsided and the beast regained his balance and continued towards Manxmon. Maya ran forward, denying Max any attempt to hold her back. She ran fast, her heart beating uncontrollably. She reached Manxmon’s side just as his body began to glow slightly. CursedManxmon was upon them now and he reached out his long arm towards the tamer. Maya dared not look; she kept her eyes on her Digimon, who was just about out cold. She waited for the beast’s grip, which didn’t come. She raised her head slowly, only to find that CursedManxmon held Max in his grip. She gasped.
Max struggled in CursedManxmon’s grip, “Maya, get out of here, now!” But Maya was frozen. The Digimon squeezed slightly, causing Max to scream out. Maya snapped out of her daze and stood up. She grabbed a nearby branch off of a fallen tree and ran up to CursedManxmon, then whacked at his feet. CursedManxmon clawed at Maya with his free hand, just missing her as she evaded. Eventually he managed to whack the branch out of Maya’s grip, causing her to tumble with the force to the ground.
He raised his arm up, ready to slash at the tamer. “No! Don’t!” Max struggled in his other paw. The arm came down. Both Max and Maya braced for it. Once again, the blow didn’t come. Maya opened her eyes. Manxmon stood before her, his body glowing a bright red. He held up CursedManxmon’s paw in his. Fueled with energy Manxmon tugged at the beast arm, forcing to lean forward. Manxmon then leapt up, his fists connecting with CursedManxmon’s helmeted head. The beast fell back, releasing Max from his grip. Manxmon caught Max as he fell and placed him on the ground.
Maya stood up and ran at her champion, locking her arms around his neck. Manxmon’s form was still glowing brightly. “You’re…so warm.” Maya said. Manxmon purred softly as Maya’s D-Ark began to emit an even brighter red light. Suddenly a mysterious black mist rolled in, surrounding Maya and Manxmon.
“Manxmon Matrix evolve to…”
Manxmon was engulfed in the red light as his body grew significantly. He lowered himself onto all fours, the boxing gloves melting away to reveal two large, front paws. His human-like torso morphed into the body of a lion, a thick mane grew around his neck. Two large wings sprouted from his shoulder blades. The dense light faded, revealing Manxmon’s new form. He retained the holy ring on his upper left arm and now had two golden gauntlets on his forearms, red gemstones set in each of them. He also kept his red collar, which had increased in size around his larger neck. He roared a bone shivering roar.
Max examined the ultimate in front of him, speechless. Manxmon was now a large, black lion with wings and no tail. Maya held Pantheromon’s large head in her hands and pressed her face against his cheek. He purred loudly, swishing his tail back and forth.
“M..Max…” Thessamon walked towards them. Max turned to him and suddenly tripped over something. He picked himself up and looked around, seeing nothing around him. “Watch out for his tail, Max.” Maya said, giggling.
“What tail?” Max looked around again. Thessamon reached him and he picked his Digimon up.
Suddenly a tree flew across the clearing towards them. Pantheromon stepped in front of Maya and caught the tree in his large jaws. He clamped down and snapped the tree in two before turning his attention to CursedManxmon, who stood ready with another tree.
“Get to safety!” Pantheromon told Maya, his voice was a deep growl. CursedManxmon flung another tree at the new ultimate. Pantheromon reared himself up on his hind legs and shattered the tree trunk with his massive claws. Pantheromon charged at the beast, tackling him to the ground and pinning him under his paws. CursedManxmon struggled and clawed at Pantheromon’s face. Finally he managed to kick Pantheromon off of him.
CursedManxmon bounded forwards, claws at the ready. With a flap of his wings Pantheromon raised himself up into the air before the beast could reach him.
Landing behind CursedManxmon Pantheromon turned and swung his long, invisible tail, tripping the beast over himself. He forced himself up and slashed at the lion Digimon. Pantheromon stepped back to avoid the long, sharp claws, until he saw his opening. He leapt forward, pinning his opponent to the ground once more.
A ball of dark energy began to form in Pantheromon’s mouth. His golden eyes became shrouded in a similar darkness. With a loud roar he released the energy ball with full force. There was an explosion, the forest became covered in darkness.
Once it faded Pantheromon stood alone, floating data fragments absorbing into him.
The eight tamers and their Digimon finally reached a clearing in the forest. Before them was a grassy field; to one side were rows of large, multi-colored eggs. One the other side was play areas where baby Digimon were enjoying themselves. The sounds of their giggles and laughter were enough to make Phoebe, Viola, Yasmin and Duke smile.
“I take it this is Primary Village.” Davis looked at Vedamon.
“You there!” a large, moose-like Digimon ran towards them. “Who are you? What do you want here?” the Digimon stood with his head dipped low in an intimidating stance with his antlers pointing at the group.
“Woah, chill out, man.” Trask held his hands up.
“We’re tamers, humans. These are our Digimon partners, the Digimon of Origin.” Alex explained.
The Digimon blinked, examining each of the rookies in turn before composing himself.
“Moosemon, champion level Digimon.” Viola checked her D-Ark.
Moosemon raised his head, “I am Moosemon, keeper of Primary Village.”
“The tamers and their Digimon turned to see Duke pointing at something in the sky. From a distance it looked like a black bird, but as it got closer everyone realized it was a large, winged feline.
“Is that a…lion?” Trask shielded his eyes from the bright sunlight.
Phoebe squinted her eyes, “That collar…Is that-“
“Rockymon?” Viola confirmed.
The black lion landed before them. He smiled at the rest of the team. Max, Maya and Midomon hopped down from his back. Phoebe immediately ran forward and grabbed Maya in a hug.
“Guys, what happened to you?” Trask asked.
“Long story…” replied Max.
Suddenly there was a flash of bright light. Moosemon closed his eyes tightly as the tamers and their Digimon were engulfed in the light. A moment later the light slowly began to fade. Moosemon opened his eyes, noticing that the humans and their Digimon had all disappeared.
The bright flash of light caused Matt and Takeshi to dive behind the sofa. The fading light revealed the ten tamers and their Digimon. Rockymon stood besides Maya, a soft, red glow radiating from his body. Viola looked around, taking in the familiar surroundings of her apartment.
Matt and Takeshi peeped over the sofa; the tamers were back, along with some new faces and their Digimon.
“Hey guys.” Duke waved at them.
Matt stood, “Back so soon?”
“Soon?” Phoebe looked at Maya. “How long were we gone?”
“A few hours.”
Maya picked up Rockymon, “Did I ever tell you how awesome I think you are?”
The feline smiled.